Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech will have another abbreviated season after fracturing his right (throwing) hand in a recent altercation with his Spring Training roommate.
The incident comes on the heels of Kopech being suspended 50 games last year for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Kopech is the ranked No. 5 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline.
“There’s a small fracture in his hand,” said Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen. “We’re still trying to figure out what the medical [recovery] is going to be. We have to go through more tests just to make sure we know exactly what we’re dealing with.”
Without question, the Red Sox are displeased Kopech has cost himself more time away from the mound with an off-field mistake.
“It’s disappointing,” said Hazen. “Very disappointed. It was stupid. He’s going to have to grow up, obviously, with the things that have happened so far. He’s got a long road to go to get to the big leagues. He obviously has a ton of potential and he’s got a long way to go. These types of things, you don’t want to put more barriers in front of you than playing professional baseball already presents to you.”
The Red Sox took Kopech in the first round (33rd overall pick) of the 2014 First Year Player Draft out of Mount Pleasant (Texas) High School. Kopech is 19 years old.
“I don’t want to go into details of what happened,” Hazen said. “He was very apologetic. He’s very disappointed by what happened certainly, and now he’s going to pay for it with regard to more lost time.”
In the coming days, the Red Sox should get a better understanding of how much time Kopech will miss.
“It depends on the severity of the fracture and if we have to do anything with it [surgically] or not,” said Hazen. “Right now, we’re unsure exactly. There’s a wide range of time frames depending on what we have to do. We don’t have those answers yet.”
Kopech pitched in 16 games for Class-A Greenville last year, going 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA and notching 70 strikeouts over 65 innings.
Dave Dombrowski’s first offseason with the Red Sox continues to gain steam. On Monday, Dombrowski dealt lefty Wade Miley to the Mariners for a pair of promising young arms in righty Carson Smith and lefty Roenis Elias.
Smith, 26, was one of the top setup relievers last season. In 70 games, he posted a 2.31 ERA while striking out 92 over 70 innings and holding opponents to a .194 average.
Elias, a 27-year-old Cuban, gives the Red Sox some rotation depth. In 51 career appearances over the last two seasons — all but two of them starts — Elias is 15-20 with a 3.97 ERA.
Miley, 29, went 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA in 2015, his only season with the Red Sox. It was last year at the Winter Meetings that Boston acquired Miley from the Diamondbacks.
The Mariners have good cost control with Miley, who will earn $6 million in 2016, $8.75 million in in ’17 and has a club option for $12 million in ’18.
With three days still left in the Winter Meetings, it will be interesting to see if Dombrowski tries to acquire a Number 2 starter. Shelby Miller — who is Joe Kelly’s best friend — is an intriguing possibility. However, the Braves are said to be asking a lot for Miller and for good reason: He is under control of whatever team he pitches for through 2018.
An annual rite of passage at any General Managers Meetings is power agent Scott Boras holding court with a barrage of reporters for 45 minutes or so. That took place today in Boca Raton, but Boras doesn’t have as many Red Sox ties as we’re accustomed to this time of year.
We did ask him about his client Xander Bogaerts, and whether he might sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox several years in advance of free agency.
“Again, anything their clients say to me about their interest in doing things … Xander is very happy in Boston,” Boras said. “He had a great year there. It’s really a relationship between him and the coaching staff. They did a great job with him and he did a great job with him and he did a great job for them so we’re very encouraged about his future there.”
What if Mookie Betts — a non-Boras client — signs an extension? Would that make Bogaerts more apt to do so?
“I don’t know if players look to other players,” Boras said. “Look, the Red Sox have a history of signing players to long-term contracts. I don’t think that’s a secret among players. So the fact that they’ve been an organization that commits to good players and commits to good players long-term, I think all the young players there know they have the capacity to do that. I wouldn’t think the signing of any particular player would affect how [Bogaerts] would view things.”
What if Bogaerts says he’s interested in an extension?
“I would listen,” Boras said. “My job is listening to the player so whenever a player wants to sign a long-term contract I would make sure I would facilitate his goals for him.”
How does Boras think the Red Sox will impact the market this winter?
“The Red Sox have some very good players and their outfield and their up-the-middle, the talent they have at catching, they really have some really, really good players so obviously the teams that are in the playoffs they seem to have that really dominant pitching so that seems to be in today’s times what makes these clubs get past to that championship level. I’m sure they have every intention of focusing on that.”
The Red Sox expressed confidence that Clay Buchholz is healthy again, exercising the right-hander’s $13 million option for 2016.
Buchholz’s 2015 season ended when he suffered a strained flexor in his right elbow pitching against the Yankees on July 10.
Prior to the injury, Buchholz was on a superb run, going 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in a 10-start run between May 15 and July 4.
Buchholz’s career has been defined as much by sterling runs like that one as untimely injuries and dips in performance.
Still, a $13 million annual value is a bargain in today’s market if Buchholz pitches anywhere close to his capability and stays relatively healthy.
The Red Sox hold a $13.5 million option on Buchholz for ’17.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has been open about the club’s pursuit of an ace this offseason. The Red Sox have Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens under their control for next season.
Boston could have starting depth to trade from, and Buchholz’s contract could be attractive to another team.
Buchholz hopes to continue pitching for the Red Sox, the franchise he’s spent his entire career with after being selected in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
A two-time All-Star, Buchholz has a career record of 73-51 with a 3.85 ERA, notching 806 strikeouts in 169 games, all but two of them starts.
Buchholz’s .589 winning percentage is the 10th best in the AL since the start of 2007 for pitchers who have a minimum of 100 decisions.
The 31-year-old Buchholz is the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox’ pitching staff and has been with the club the last nine seasons.
Just as everyone was arriving to the ballpark for Game Number 162, the Red Sox announced that John Farrell will return as manager in 2016. Torey Lovullo signed a new two-year deal to stay on as bench coach, and continue to lend support as Farrell battles back from Stage 1 lymphona.
Here was the reaction of former Red Sox manager Terry Francona:
“I actually didn’t know it needed to be news. I really didn’t. So I’m not sure how to react because I didn’t know that it necessarily needed to be news. I guess I always figured he would. I’ve been so fixated on him as a friend and what he’s going through that I’ve really never thought about it. I never even thought to ask him. In all the conversations, I never thought to ask him. I guess as much as we all care about baseball, when that enters into it, I really never thought to even bring it up.”
Here was the reaction of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia:
“That’s the thought the players had all along. We’re hoping that John recovers what he’s going through and can’t wait to get him back. It’s going to be good to have John back healthy and around the guys again. That’s’ everyone’s first concern, health. We want him to be back to normal and be fine. If he is, he’s obviously going to be our manager.”
Here was the reaction of Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski:
“John’s case, and have been consistent and meaningful in his situation that I told him all along that he needs to be healthy, first and foremost. He finished his last chemo treatments, this round, this past week. At some point, we needed to move forward and kind of set where we’re going into the future. I called John yesterday and when we’ve had conversations, all of our conversations that we’ve had, which hasn’t been as numerous as would normally be the case if he was healthy of course, have always been towards 2016. But I never really gave him that 100 percent that, I had always given him the indication, but needed to be in a position where it basically closed that loop. Yesterday, I called him back and said we’re ready to step forward to do this. ”
“The problem with it is the process of his health is still first and foremost. All indications are good. He will have some tests again in about three weeks to see where he stands at that point so in his case it’s a situation where in three weeks he’ll have a little bit better feel. But right now, he feels as if he will be OK for next year to move forward. The doctors have given that indication. The difficulty becomes, and I’m not an expert on this, so I cannot claim to give you any special insight, other than what doctors have told me a couple of times that I’ve talked to people, when you go through what John is going through, which is of course, major, the feelings are that he will be in a spot where 97 percent of the time you come through from a health perspective on this.
“Sometimes you don’t feel up to 100 percent for three to six months, is what people tell me. I do know that. I’m just telling you what the doctors have told me. I also think that the commitment’s made to John, he’ll be our manager for 2016, he should be fine. But I also want to make sure, how do we protect ourselves in case when you put six months, and again, I’m not sure it’s going to be six months, I hope it’s three months, and if it’s three months, the time frame works out well. But what happens if it’s six months? We’re already into the start of next season. You’re also in a position where you start talking about spring training, preparation for Spring Training, it’s a great time of year but it also can be a grueling time of year and I don’t want that extra stress on him to feel that I’ve got to be ready, I’ve got to be ready.
“Trying to come up with what ideally would be a fallback plan if he just wasn’t quite up to par. Thought long and hard about it. Have been very impressed of course with Torey and Torey’s done a great job for us. I don’t think he could have handled himself any better than what he has, not only running the club in John’s absence, taking control, but also always giving the proper authority to John and staying in contact with John, knowing it’s John’s team. So I had a thought that perhaps this would be a way that it would work, to protect ourselves. I didn’t know how Torey would feel about it. I ran it through John Henry and Tom Werner a couple of weeks ago my thought processes and how it would work in approaching Torey about staying on board to see if he’d be willing to do that. Offered him the two-year contract, but it wasn’t about that with Torey. It was really a situation where he thought about the scenario. He’s very committed to the Red Sox organization, very committed to John, so he has given up his ability to interview for next year as a manager. He made that commitment to the organization. We’re very thankful for what he has done. I think it’s a situation where hopefully we’re protected as well as we possibly can. Hopefully John’s back, he’s feeling great, he’s ready to go. If for some reason, he’s a little slower to come back or not 100 percent, his trusted right-hand, lieutenant is there for him to help him at that point, so that’s really how we went with it.”
Here was the reaction of Torey Lovullo on going back to his bench role, but being available in case John Farrell still isn’t feeling 100 percent:
“Like I said, I’m a processor, so I got as much information as I possibly could and I thought about a lot of things. That was one of the main reasons, is that I want to see that process through. I want to be here for John, I want to assist John in any way I possibly can, and I want to make sure it lines up the way it’s supposed to line up before I ran out on him, is how I’m looking at it.”
Here is Dombrowski’s reaction on if things could become awkward if the Red Sox get off to a slow start under Farrell, given Lovullo’s success as interim manager.
“Not really, for the simple fact that he’s John’s guy. John is the one who brought him on board. He’s his closest confidant. That’s his bench coach. I think what ends up happening is, there’s always speculation in today’s world about what takes place if the club is not playing well. Hopefully that won’t be the case. Hopefully the club will play well. But it’s a situation – I can’t think of a situation where he’d be more comfortable with someone. That’s John’s guy.”
Here is Lovullo’s reaction on being secure enough in himself to feel comfortable passing on managerial openings that might arise in the coming days.
“I’ve learned that being a major-league manager is all about timing and opportunity. They don’t come up all the time. Whether this enhances my ability to manage one day or not is out of my control, as it has been since Day One. I’m just going to continue doing my thing the way I know how, and the right situation will pop up if it’s supposed to happen. I’m a big believer in timing. We’ll see what happens once things move in the direction that I could possibly correspond with a team. For right now, for one year, it’s not going to be a possibility.”
Did you think Pedro Martinez’s pre-induction day press conference would be anything but entertaining?
Here were the highlights from his 21-minute session with the English-speaking media.
How does Pedro want to be remembered? “I’ve always been open-hearted and outspoken about the way I am. I think if you want to grasp a better idea of Pedro Martinez, you have to deal with me on a daily basis. I don’t have anything I can say that they don’t know. Maybe that I am a very regular human being, once I take my uniform off. I am lovely. I’m a joker. I’m a gardner. I’m a fisherman. I’m a father, a very dedicated father. I love my mom. I love gardening with her.”
Should there be baseball in Montreal again? “Great. Great. As soon as possible, we need a team in Montreal. I think Montreal was robbed of an opportunity to have probably a franchise that would last forever. It’s a great city. It’s probably the safest city I’ve ever played in, and I feel in Boston like I’m in my backyard. It goes to tell you that Montreal is that safe. And for people to play baseball and see baseball, and have family time, I think Montreal is the perfect place.”
Pedro visiting the Babe’s statue in Cooperstown. ““Yeah, we are teammates and I had the opportunity to go over and look at his statue and actually I did apologize for the comments I made that day [in 2001]. It was Shaughnessy and Jonny Miller getting in my face and I said those things because I didn’t believe in curses but I know especially after that moment, I got to really appreciate who the Bambino was and how good he was to the people and society, and for baseball. Oh yeah, I am his teammate. He forgave me for what I said. We moved on now. I’m counting on him to go deep and I’m going to get the next eight shutout innings.”
Pedro’s weekend experience: “You know what, this has been great. From the first moment we were announced, for some reason, these are four guys that respect, admire and look after each other to learn something from each other. I’ll tell you what, dealing with Randy, my big brother now, that’s how he calls me, my little brother, I call him my big brother, we have been hanging out together. It’s great to actually see the kind of person behind the uniform. If you watch him and watch me competing, you would never tell that Randy is the kind of guy that he is. John Smoltz, the same way. You didn’t know that John Smoltz was one guy that could pull off a prank on you at any moment. You look at them pitching, and it’s so serious, so committed to the game. You don’t perceive that whatsoever the kind of person behind it. I’m the same way. You would never tell that I’m a joker, that I’m someone so happy on days that I’m not pitching when you saw me pitching. It’s great to see that. It’s great to see the family interact with each other. How great they mix together as soon as they saw each other and they saw the way Randy and I walk around.”
Which direction will Pedro take in his speech? “I think it’s a commitment to Latin America. I feel the commitment more than anything as far as what I represent. I think it’s important that I go out there and show the level of education that I have. I’m going to be speaking in two languages, which is a little bit more difficult than people think. I’m going to be able to actually showcase how we are, how our people feel. I hope that I can express with the moment how much I love, respect and treasure everything I did in baseball, America, the people, the fanbases, the teams, the organizations, I hope I can project the right image at the time I get to the podium. Hopefully emotions won’t cut me off guard and make me cut it short.”
The 32-year-gap between Dominicans in the Hall: “You know what, what we got is what we deserve. There’s no crying in baseball we always say, right. We did not have the numbers, we did not have the kind of things that made us qualify to have another one. Juan Marichal was the Dominican Dandy, the one that represented the Dominican Republic for a long time. Now after 32 years, I showed up in the area. Now, I don’t think we’re going to wait 32 years more to get another representative. I think Vladimir Guerrero is right on the edge of becoming the next Hall of Famer. Guys that are still playing and posting numbers, I think, our going to be in the Hall of Fame, especially on the first ballot. Guys that if they decided to retire today, they would be Hall of Famers in five years, for sure.”
A-Rod a Hall of Famer? “No, I’m not talking about A-Rod, but I’m talking about Albert Pujols, maybe David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre – I think those are guys that will make it right away in the first ballot.”
Why not A-Rod? “I’m not going to go into that because there’s nothing I can do with the way voters handle who did what. Certainly the numbers are there but as you know from previous case – why not Roger Clemens, why not Barry Bonds? — because of the same reasons. So i’m not going to go into that and make a big deal out of this. I hope they all make it to be honest.
More on the juice era: “When I pitched it was the middle of that era where they say it was a juiced era. Well, guess what? I wanted the best out there, I wanted to face the best, I wanted to beat the best, I was able to do that. So if you ask me again, if I want to fact that kind of competition, yes I do. If I’m going to be given the 99 and the change-up and the curveball, bring it on again. I don’t care. There’s no crying in baseball right? I’m going to repeat that, there’s no crying in baseball, so I just hope that whoever gets a chance to make it here, makes it. It doesn’t matter. I’m not condoning people cheating the game or doing the wrong things, because I never did it. Hey, enough of the whining, let’s just play ball and face it. Once again, I’m going to repeat – i’m not condoningbad things in the game, but at the same time, let’s go and compete, let it be.”
Colin Cowherd disparaging the intellect of Dominicans: “It’s only going to be an insult to anyone that falls to that level, I’m not at that level, I’m sorry. I’m dealing here with polite people people that understand human rights, people who understand who we are and these are the people I’m paying attention to. That person, I don’t even know, I never heard of him, I don’t want to know him. I want to know the people that represent something, that mean something to us, the people that understand how we can get better.
More on Cowherd: “Yes, we are a Third World country, yes we don’t have the resources to be more educated but you know what every once in a while you’re going to get one like me, that’s not afraid to face you guys, to tell you how educated or uneducated I am, how proud I am of becoming who I am. We’re not going to stop and go back to probably the third world country that we were 30 years ago, we want to go forward, we’re looking forward. We don’t want to look down, to where he is, I want to look up to you guys, the voters, the seniors who are here, the Hall of Famers who are here and hopefully set the bar high like Roberto Clemente did.
On the bilingual approach Sunday: “Bear with me. It’s going to be in both languages. I have to go back and forth. With all due respect to America and the understanding it’s America’s pastime, baseball, and it’s played in America, I am committed to the Latin community and I am committed to America.”
Representing different cities and teams: “The same way we have fan bases in Boston, the same way in New York — believe it or not, I was a Met, and I’m proud of it. I was a Phillie, and I’m proud of it. I ran the Eastern division, I moved around. So I’m going to have people from all over and all of you are welcome and appreciated the same way. Mon amis in Montreal are welcome as well. Everybody that’s coming over is welcome. It’s part of baseball. It’s part of a huge tradition. I’m extremely proud to have had the opportunity to represent baseball in so many places, and to do it with honor and humbled to do it.”
Pedro on the fans of Boston: “They’ve got a place right here, in my heart. They’re with me here. I’m representing Boston. Like I said, I represent many things, but Boston is one place that I’m representing proudly. They can feel comfortable that Pedro is going to be Pedro. And Boston, whatever Pedro is, Boston is going along with it. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain this very much to the Bostonians, because they know what I’m made of and they know who I am. I’m a walking party in Boston. The parade just keeps going.”
Clay Buchholz on his trip to see Dr. James Andrews.
Sum up the trip: “It was basically re-affirming what we know. The one thing that came out of it that I was thinking a little differently about is the catch that I was playing. It probably wasn’t the right thing to do, in his mind. Yeah, that’s the reason for the PRP, because the time I’m going to be down, it’s not going to extend that time at all. Being that I don’t have any tears and it wasn’t a surgical issue, he said that I’d probably be in the upper 80 percent for this PRP stuff to either help or form a stronger muscle rather than just taking rest.”
Recovery time? “I think the total amount of time is probably going to be five to six weeks. I’m going to be back whenever I can. This is sort of frustrating. Yeah, whenever I’m able to go. He gave me the steps to follow, and that’s what I’m going to do, and that’s what I went to him.”
Frustrating? “Pretty frustrating. It always seems to happen when I’m on a good run. That’s the most frustrating part of it. It never can happen when you need a little time off or a little break. It’s just the way it is. I don’t have a whole lot else to add.”
Explain the flexor tendon: “It’s the muscle that covers up that protects the UCL so if you mess that up, the next thing that’s going is … I think it’s the exact same thing the guy they got from the Royals that got hurt the other day, yeah, Jason Vargas. That’s what he went on the DL for was flexor. Seeing that, that’s definitely not what I want to do. I’m going to take the time I need to take off for it to be better.”
When to resume throwing? “I don’t know exactly the day but it’s a couple of weeks until I start throwing.”
Back this season? “I definitely want to pitch again. I don’t care how many starts. I need to … that’s why I’m here. This is actually a big year for me too.”
Again, unable to pitch 200 innings: “It’s not going to bother me. It might bother a lot of other people. I’ve said it a lot, it doesn’t bother me how people think about me. They can say what they want to say, you can write what you want to write. That’s basically the bottom line. I know that I’m a good baseball player when I’m out there so that’s how I look at it.”
Uncertainty of next season: “I’m going to be throwing somewhere. Baseball is baseball. I’ve definitely been here my whole career. I don’t really want to go anywhere. When it comes to the time where somebody’s got to make a decision, the decision doesn’t always match the same way you feel. It is what it is. That’s the business side. I’ve said it a hundred times. It happens to a lot of guys. It’s very rare for a guy to stay in one spot his whole career. If it does happen, it happens.”
After a glorious weather day on Opening Day, the Red Sox and Phillies are playing under dreary and raw conditions tonight.
It was somewhat interesting that Shane Victorino was not in the lineup for Game 2, after a day off on Tuesday. But Daniel Nava is going to get his share of starts also, and the same goes for Allen Craig. John Farrell has a lot of depth to manage.
Farrell said that part of the reason Victorino was sitting was the weather. No use risking an injury for someone coming off back surgery.
Victorino was 9-for-27 lifetime vs. Harang entering this one. Nava was 1-for-2.
This was the first time we’ve had a chance to speak with John Farrell since Rick Porcello signed his new contract. Here is what Farrell had to say about it.
“We’re talking about a free agent to be at 26 years old who’s pitched 200 innings, that’s evolving in his own right to be an upper echelon type of starter. It’s clearly a commitment on our ownership’s part. It’s also betting on a guy that we’ve grown to have a pretty good understanding in the two months that he’s been here, even though he hasn’t thrown a pitch yet,” Farrell said before Porcello took the mound against the Phillies. “You bet on the individual when you make these kind of investments. Rick is very detail-oriented and he’s committed to his own personal routine to prepare each and every day. And the fact he’s going to be pitching this season at 26 years of age, the five years we’re going to get him ideally at the prime of his major league career given the age and what all information would suggest with guys of that age group.”
Hello from sunny Bradenton, where the red-hot Red Sox (six straight wins) brought a bus that included nearly all of their best players.
Opponent: Pirates (4-3).
TV/Radio: None. So make sure to follow closely on twitter (@ianmbrowne) and redsox.com.
Today’s lineup: Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley CF, Swihart C.
Starting matchup: Buchholz vs. Burnett.
Available out of the bullpen: Ogando, Hembree, Couch, Celestino, Scott, Rodriguez, McCarthy, Younginger.
Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:
Mookie looks ready to take over the leadoff spot. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112199708/mookie-betts-looks-ready-to-take-over-leadoff-spot-for-red-sox
Kelly improving plan of attack: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112198978/red-sox-right-hander-joe-kelly-kelly-displays-improved-command-against-yankees
Andrew Miller credits Red Sox for making a strong run at him in offseason. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112199706/left-hander-andrew-miller-contemplated-return-to-red-sox-in-offseason
Back home at beautiful JetBlue Park today after a lengthy sojourn to the East Coast, the Red Sox are ready for the Rays today and Shane Victorino is back in the lineup.
Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays (1-3).
TV/Radio: None. So that means you need to follow me on Twitter (@ianmbrowne) and redsox.com for any and all updates today.
Today’s lineup: Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley CF, Hanigan C.
Starting matchup: Masterson vs. Andriese.
Available out of the bullpen: Owens, Uehara, Eveland, Spruill, Varvaro, Hinojosa.
Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:
Cecchini has an attitude everyone can learn from: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111904400/red-sox-prospect-garin-cecchini-stays-positive-despite-uncertain-future
Finding playing time for Allen Craig might be the toughest thing about John Farrell’s job: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111922460/allen-craig-in-line-for-reserve-role-with-boston-red-sox
Barnes displaying premium stuff in camp: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111924676/pitcher-matt-barnes-showing-premium-stuff-early-in-red-sox-camp